Hopeful for a renewal of Catholic education through the classical liberal arts



Leafing through the Rhode Island Catholic on September 20, I was seized and nearly moved to tears when I saw “The Growing Popularity of Classical Education.” For many years I have been captivated by classical education and have sought to provide such an education for my own children through homeschooling. As my understanding of classical education has grown, it has become apparent that classical education had long been the education provided by the Catholic Church well into the 1960’s, a high point in Catholic school enrollment (5.2 million students). Then it was abandoned.

Since then Catholic schools have adopted more secular models of education, using secular textbooks and hiring teachers trained in secular institutions or programs of study. Coincidentally or perhaps consequently, we now face low enrollment (1.8 million students) and closures of our beloved Catholic schools, increased secularization of our children and a wholesale rejection of the truth of our faith by far too many.

Why was I moved when I saw the article? Because it was a sign of hope. A real hope that the word is spreading about Catholic liberal education. An education not just about developing the natural human powers of memory and critical thinking, but about lasting formation in wisdom and virtue. It’s about ordering the affections on what is good and beautiful. It’s about rejoicing that truth can be known. It’s about reaching for eternal things while still satisfying for temporal needs. It’s about learning to judge rightly through the clarifying lens of faith. It’s about falling deeply in love with Jesus Christ, the Logos.

The Institute for Catholic Liberal Education (https://www.catholicliberaleducation.org/) is a great place to start learning more about the renewal of Catholic education through the classical liberal arts.

Ann Van Orsouw, North Smithfield